A new survey has laid bare a lack of awareness among credit card users about the cost of using their cards.

Nearly three out of every five of those polled said they don't know what interest rate they pay, with 40% unsure about how their rate is applied.

Among those that claimed to know what rate they are charged, more than half thought it was under 10%, where in reality rates typically vary from 13-23%.

The survey, carried out online among 1,000 adults by iReach Insights on behalf of the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU), found 58% of the population now own a credit card.

More than a third of respondents wrongly thought they do not have to pay any interest if they cover the minimum balance due at the end of the month.

The poll also reveals dissatisfaction with the levels of information provided by credit card providers, with three quarters of participants claiming companies don’t do enough to explain how the interest rate system on cards works.

While more than two thirds said they felt Irish people don’t have sufficient understanding of how credit card interest works.

"Since our survey last year, there has been a notable lack of improvement in consumer awareness around credit card interest and how that interest is applied," said ILCU Head of Communications, Paul Bailey.

"With a significant number of people in the country still using credit cards to fund ad hoc items, it is concerning that lack of knowledge on interest rates remains very much widespread."

Despite this, reliance on credit cards is high, with 70% of respondents saying people here rely too much on credit cards.

When it comes to use of card, more than half said they use theirs for ad-hoc purchases, with 16% using one for holiday spending.